Sunday, November 22, 2015

Round-by-round recap: Canelo Alvarez defeats Miguel Cotto by unanimous decision

xico's Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (45-1-1, 32 knockouts) defeated Puerto Rico's Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) by unanimous decision Saturday night at Mandalay Bay to claim the WBC middleweight title.

Alvarez, who was more aggressive than usual, was able to dominate most of the rounds with his heavy punches and uppercuts. Cotto, 35, tried to outbox the younger Alvarez, 25, but was often on the short end of exchanges.

The judges scored it: 117-111 (John McKaie), 119-109 (Burt Clements) and 118-110 (Dave Moretti). The referee was Robert Byrd.

Alvarez is in line to fight Gennady Golovkin, who owns the WBA, IBF and IBO middleweight titles.

Here is a round-by-round recap of the Cotto-Alvarez fight (scoring is unofficial):

Round 1: Cotto jabbing, protecting his head. He lands a jab. Canelo waiting for an opportunity, hits Cotto in side with a right. Canelo lands a clean left. Canelo wins round, 10-9.

Round 2: The first was a close one. Cotto’s jabs and evasiveness vs. Canelo’s occasional power. Canelo lands a left to the body to open the second. Follows with a good right to Cotto’s head. Cotto jabbing, staying in the middle of the ring as ordered. Canelo slips some jabs. He hits Cotto with a right. Crowd roaring for Canelo. Cotto sneaks in a right. Canelo wins round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 20-18.

Round 3: First two rounds close to toss-ups for judges John McKaie, Burt Clements and Dave Moretti. The third round opens with a good left and a dangerous right by Canelo. Canelo lands a right to Cotto's head. Cotto covers after a Canelo right. Cotto works the jab. A good Canelo right to the head. Cotto counters with a jab. Canelo wins round, 10-9.Canelo leads fight, 30-27.

Round 4: Cotto lands with a left. Canelo comes back with a good right. Cotto can take a punch. Canelo darts away from jabs and a right, comes back with a clean left-right combination. Canelo jabs, and jabs again. Cotto lands some punches and backs up. Nice boxing. Good right by Canelo. Three lefts by Cotto to close. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 39-37.

Round 5: Good action, with Cotto landing a left uppercut. Canelo connects with a clean right as Cotto tries to continue boxing. Left hook by Canelo lands. Cotto answers with a clean combination. Cotto then lands a left. Canelo has a welt under his right eye. Cotto left counterpunch while slipping a Canelo right. Cotto wins round, 10-9.Canelo leads fight, 48-47.

Round 6: Canelo fires off a left and right that glance Cotto. Canelo follows with an overhand right. Then a good left by Canelo, who looks more aggressive this round. Cotto boxing and moving. He’s staying away from the ropes as Roach advised. Two clean jabs by Cotto. They trade jabs, mostly missing. Cotto wins round, 10-9. Fight is even, 57-57.

Round 7: Very close rounds here. Cotto working body, throwing punches. Canelo lands big left and hard right to Cotto's body. It's busy work vs. heavy work. Cotto jabs and backs away. He jabs again. Good right uppercut by Canelo lands. Not exactly the action we were promised yet. Canelo misses a right. Canelo wins round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 67-66.

Round 8: Canelo opens with a left uppercut, followed by a jab. A hard right by Canelo, but Cotto answers before Canelo rips him with a left and right. Canelo follows with a hard left. Canelo on the attack, crowd loves this. Great action. Canelo jabs. Cotto has taken some big blows and Canelo wants to keep throwing them. Hard right uppercut by Canelo. Good left by Cotto at the bell, but a convincing round for Canelo, who wins the round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 77-75.

Round 9: Trainer Freddie Roach is in Cotto’s ear. Good right by Cotto to open. Canelo answers with a good left. He follows with a left to Cotto's body. Canelo gets Cotto to the ropes with power punches, but Cotto answers on the other side. Two left hooks by Canelo to close. Canelo wins round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 87-84.

Round 10: Will Cotto tire now? He’s 10 years older. Canelo makes Cotto cover with a right to the head. Canelo lands a hard right to the body; Cotto complains to no avail. Cotto lands a left to Canelo's face. Canelo misses with two big rights. Cotto pulls down Canelo. Cotto moving away, he needs to do more, like that big right he lands near the end. 10-9 Cotto wins round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 96-94.

Round 11: Cotto lands a good right to Canelo's head. Cotto blocks a Canelo left and ducks a right. Left by Canelo makes Cotto back up. Another good left by Canelo. Cotto is jabbing, dancing on toes. Canelo connects with a left, then a right. Cotto tries to land lefts before bell, but they weren’t as meaningful. Canelo wins round, 10-9. Canelo leads fight, 106-103.

Round 12: Canelo opens by landing a pair of lefts. He follows with bigger rights. There's a good exchange from the fighters. Cotto cut above left eye. Nice right by Cotto, Canelo lands a response. Cotto lands a left. Canelo follows with a couple of lefts and a hard right. There's another good exchange. Cotto delivers lefts at the bell. They embrace. Close fight going to the judges. Canelo wins round, 10-9. Canelo should win by decision, 116-112.

Flaws exposed as Ohio State comes undone

We need to collectively apologize to Baylor.

The Bears aren't the most overrated team in the country. It's actually defending national champion Ohio State, which lost to Michigan State 17-14 at home on Saturday.

Somehow, it took us 12 weeks to figure out the Buckeyes aren't really that good. We weren't the only ones hoodwinked, though. The College Football Playoff selection committee thought so much of the Buckeyes that it ranked them No. 3 in each of the first three top-25 rankings.

Even as Ohio State struggled to put away teams such as Northern Illinois,Indiana and Minnesota, we figured it would kick into gear once it played a game that really mattered. But the Buckeyes didn't, and now it's too late.

Hopefully, it's a valuable lesson for all of us: Last season doesn't (and shouldn't) matter when it comes to picking the four best teams for this season's playoff.

If Ohio State had played anyone of real consequence in the previous three months, we might have been exposed to the warts and boils that were festering behind the facade. What was supposed to be Urban Meyer's next dynasty was dismantled in about four hours Saturday.

After losing to No. 9 Michigan State on Michael Geiger's 41-yard field goal as time expired at the Horseshoe, it took the No. 3 Buckeyes about 30 minutes to completely implode.

Star tailback Ezekiel Elliott announced after the game that he would not return for his senior season in 2016. Backup quarterback Cardale Jones, the hero in OSU's unlikely run to a national championship last season, announced on Twitter that he would not either.

At this point, I'm not even sure it's fair to call the Buckeyes an actual team. They might be more of a loose collection of star players with one foot out the door to the NFL draft.

Don't the Buckeyes have another important game to play next week, as well as a postseason bowl? Talk about slapping Ohio State's biggest tradition right in the face. Elliott and Jones couldn't have waited until after next week's showdown at No. 12Michigan in "The Game" to announce their future plans? Legendary OSU coach Woody Hayes must be rolling in his grave.

If Michigan State loses to Penn State next week and Ohio State somehow recovers to beat Michigan, the Buckeyes would win the Big Ten East and play in the Big Ten championship game. Isn't that worth playing for?

After losing for the first time in 23 games and suffering their first Big Ten regular-season defeat in Meyer's four seasons at the school, the Buckeyes' world seemed to come to a stunning end.

"It's easy to lead when everything is going well, and you won a bunch of games in a row," Meyer said. "That's not how you judge a team. That's not how you judge character. That's not how you judge a leader. That's how you judge a front-runner."

The Buckeyes sure sounded like front-runners on Saturday. Elliott ripped Ohio State's play calling against the Spartans. He carried the ball 12 times for 33 yards with one touchdown, which were three fewer rushing attempts than quarterback J.T. Barrett had.

"What happened today, it was kind of like a bad, bad dream," Elliott said. "Offense had a rough day, and I'm disappointed. I'm disappointed in the play calling, I'm disappointed in the situations we were put in, and I wish it all played out differently.

"I deserve more than [12] carries. I really do. I can't speak for the playcaller. I don't know what was going on."

Elliott certainly has reason to be frustrated, but voicing his frustrations publicly wasn't the smartest thing to do. On a cold, rainy day in Columbus, the Spartans had to figure the Buckeyes would try to hop on Elliott's back and ride to a victory, as they did at the end of last season. Instead, Elliott seemed to be more of an afterthought in the offense.

The Buckeyes also failed to take many chances in the passing game, as Barrett finished 9-of-16 passing for 46 yards with one touchdown. OSU finished with only 132 yards of offense, the lowest-ever total by a Meyer-coached team, with only five first downs.

How conservative was the play calling? Rarely has a Meyer-coached team taken so few chances on such a big stage.

"No, I was not content," Meyer told reporters postgame when asked about the play calling. "I call a lot of plays anyway, so finger will be pointed right here. And I have to do better. We didn't -- it was very conservative."

There's no question the Buckeyes are only a shell of the team that steamrolled Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon in its final three games of 2014 en route to a national championship. In hindsight, the loss of offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who left to become Houston's head coach, seems to be the biggest blow. The OSU offense has sputtered under the direction of co-offensive coordinators Tim Beck and Ed Warinner.

Coming into this season, the Buckeyes easily looked like the most talented team in the country. They had a handful of All-Americans on both lines, one of the country's best tailbacks and two quarterbacks who could seemingly start anywhere. It seemed the only way they wouldn't make the playoff was if the quarterback battle became a full-blown controversy.

The Buckeyes seemed too good to not have a legitimate chance of repeating. They looked so loaded at quarterback that two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year Braxton Miller moved to wide receiver in the offseason. Meyer chose to start Jones at the beginning of the season, but then turned to Barrett in midseason after Jones failed to rekindle the magic he had during the 2014 finish.

However, Barrett couldn't get anything going against Michigan State, a 13-point underdog playing without injured star quarterback Connor Cook.

"For the most part, it was tough sledding throwing the ball," Meyer said. "And it hasn't been a smooth run, really, most of the year."

Now, the Buckeyes look like they're out of the playoff. They'll have to hope the Spartans lose to Penn State and they beat Michigan to have a chance of winning the Big Ten and playing in the Rose Bowl.

"We've just been hit right in the gut," Meyer said.

Some of Ohio State's best players sounded like they were knocked out for good.

1. Clemson: The Tigers continued their march to the ACC championship game and possibly the playoff by routing Wake Forest 33-13 at Death Valley. It was Clemson's 14th consecutive victory, the second-longest win streak in school history. If the Tigers win at rival South Carolina next week, they'll finish the regular season unbeaten for the first time since they won a national championship in 1981.

2. Alabama: The Crimson Tide cruised to a 56-6 rout of FCS foe Charleston Southern, which gives them 10 wins for the eighth consecutive season. It's the third-longest such streak in FBS since 1937. Florida State (14 10-win seasons in a row from 1987-2000) and Texas (nine straight from 2001-09) are the only schools with longer streaks in that span.

3. Oklahoma: Playing without star quarterback Baker Mayfield in the second half, the Sooners barely survived in a 30-29 home victory over TCU. The Horned Frogs rallied from a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and the Sooners didn't win until they stopped a two-point conversion attempt with 51 seconds to play. It was OU's sixth consecutive victory.

4. Michigan State: The Spartans' upset of Ohio State might be enough to propel them into the top four. Michigan State's earlier wins over Oregon and Michigan are looking better every week, and its only loss was a controversial 39-38 defeat at Nebraska. If MSU beats Penn State at home next week, it will win the Big Ten East.
Next four in contention
1. Iowa: Iowa fans will undoubtedly be upset if the unbeaten Hawkeyes are ranked behind three one-loss teams. The good news: Iowa still controls its playoff fate. The Hawkeyes clinched the Big Ten West by beating Purdue 40-20. If Iowa defeats Nebraska next week and the East Division champion in the Big Ten championship game, the committee will have a difficult time leaving it out of the final top four.
2. Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish picked a bad time to have a less-than-impressive game. The selection committee couldn't have been too impressed by Notre Dame's 19-16 victory over Boston College at Fenway Park, in which the Irish turned the ball over five times. They still have to survive next week's trip to Stanford, where they've dropped three straight games. At least Notre Dame's earlier victories over Temple and Navy are still carrying some weight.
3. Baylor: The Bears recovered from last week's disappointing loss to Oklahoma by upsetting previously unbeaten Oklahoma State 45-35 on the road. Baylor piled up 700 yards of offense with third-string quarterback Chris Johnson at the helm. The Bears play at TCU on Black Friday and host Texas on Dec. 5.
4. Stanford: The Cardinal bounced back from a 38-36 loss to Oregon last week by throttling rival California 35-22 to win the Pac-12 North. Stanford can help its case by beating Notre Dame for the fifth time in the past seven meetings. The Cardinal will face the UCLA-USC winner in the Pac-12 championship game.

1. Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Henry ran for 68 yards with two touchdowns on nine carries on the first two possessions of the Crimson Tide's 50-point rout of FCS foe Charleston Southern. He tied Trent Richardon's school record with 21 rushing touchdowns in a season and extended his school record with his 16th consecutive game with a rushing score.

2. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson: Watson threw for 343 yards on 24-for-35 passing and accounted for four touchdowns in the Tigers' win over Wake Forest. Watson threw two interceptions, but he also rushed for 44 yards with one score. He ran and passed for a touchdown in the same game for the sixth time this season, the second-most in FBS.

3. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State: Cook was as steady as ever in the Seminoles' 52-13 rout of FCS foe Chattanooga, in their 21st consecutive victory at home. He ran 15 times for 106 yards with two touchdowns. It was his seventh 100-yard game of the season, which is second in school history behind Warrick Dunn's eight in 1995.

4. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: McCaffrey broke the single game school record for all-purpose yards with 389 in the Cardinal's win over Cal. He'll have two more marquee opportunities to impress: next week against Notre Dame and against either USC or UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game.
Best moments
1. After losing to North Carolina 30-27, Virginia Tech's players carried retiring coach Frank Beamer off the field in his final home game.

2. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh lost his cool (again) on the sideline.

3. Clemson offensive lineman Daniel Stone proposed to his girlfriend on the field before Saturday's game against Wake Forest at Death Valley (she said yes).

4. Snowplow races! Iowa's field crew had some fun at snow-covered Kinnick Stadium during the first winter storm of the season.

Best plays

1. Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger's 41-yard field goal to beat Ohio State was one for the Spartans' history books, and his celebration was pretty epic too.

2. Alabama's Richard Mullaney made a sick touchdown catch before landing on his back in the Crimson Tide's rout of FCS foe Charleston Southern.

3. Stanford's Christian McCaffrey turned a short screen pass into a 49-yard touchdown by making defender after defender miss.

4. Mississippi State's Fred Ross made an amazing, one-handed catch across his body to score a 55-yard touchdown against Arkansas.
Worst plays

1. Virginia Tech defensive end Dadi Nicolas should know you never put your hands on ACC ref Ron Cherry.

2. Somehow, Big Ten officials overturned Jazz Peavy's apparent touchdown catch and ruled it incomplete late in the Badgers' 13-7 loss to Northwestern.

3. Michigan State has had some luck against Australian-born punters. Ohio State's Cameron Johnston had an ugly 5-yard punt against the Spartans on Saturday.

4. Wisconsin's cheerleaders left the field after being pelted with snowballs -- by Badgers fans.
Quotes of the night

1. "I don't really like comparing humans to chickens or any other type of animal." -- Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, when asked if he was worried about the Wolverines laying an egg at Penn State before next week's showdown against Ohio State.

2. "The headline in the Columbia paper today said we had no chance. Twenty-five years ago, they said the same thing. At some point, they better start respecting the kind of young men we have at The Citadel." -- Bulldogs coach Mike Houston, after FCS The Citadel beat South Carolina 23-22 to end a 27-game losing streak against FBS opponents.

3. "I'm sure the guys next week are going to take a look at this and probably go on vacation." -- Florida coach Jim McElwain, after the No. 8 Gators barely survived a 20-14 overtime win over the 2-9 Owls at the Swamp. Florida plays FSU next week.

4. "I do think we had more yards rushing than Leonard Fournette did." -- Charleston Southern coach Jamey Chadwell, after the Buccaneers ran for 85 yards in their 50-point loss to Alabama. Fournette had 31 in LSU's 30-16 loss to the Tide two weeks ago.
Stats that matter

2: Winless teams remaining in FBS, after Kansas fell by seven touchdowns to West Virginia. Kansas and UCF are both 0-11. The Jayhawks finish the season against Kansas State, while the Knights host USF.

2: Alabama's Cyrus Jones returned two punts for touchdowns in the Tide's rout of Charleston Southern. He's the first Alabama player to return multiple punts for touchdowns in a game since the school started keeping official records in 1944.

6: Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. tied a school-record with six touchdowns passes -- all longer than 20 yards -- in a 48-28 win over USC. It was the most touchdown passes ever allowed by the Trojans.

7: Touchdown passes by Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen in a 51-50 loss to Mississippi State. Allen became the school's all-time leader with 63 career touchdown passes, which broke the previous record of 62 held by Ryan Mallett.

How Anonymous war with Isis is actually harming counter-terrorism

Anonymous are in the throes of an all-out cyberwar with Isis – but could they actually be harming counter-terrorism?

Three days ago the hacking collective announced they were going to out as many Isis-affiliated social media accounts as they could find, forcing websites like Twitter to shut them down.

They’ve been quite successful, finding and closing down more than 5,500 Twitter accounts under the banner of #OpISIS.

However, there are security groups that rely on the terror group’s social media presence.

GhostSec is one of these. They regularly track down jihadist accounts and forums – but rather than shut them down, they infiltrate them and monitor their activity.

According to their website, their mission is to ‘eliminate the online presence of Islamic extremist groups such as Islamic State (IS), Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab in an effort to stymie their recruitment and limit their ability to organise international terrorist efforts’.

They pass all important information they gather about extremist groups to intelligence agencies, such as the FBI.

This could include details about where to buy bomb-making materials, and plans for carrying out major terrorist attacks like those in Paris last week.

It is a lot easier for groups such as GhostSec to monitor what terror groups are planning when they communicate over Twitter, because it is an unencrypted, public forum.

But since these accounts have been getting shut down, Isis supporters have been setting up new accounts on encrypted messaging sites such as Telegram.

Telegram not only protects its messages from surveillance, but users can transfer funds to each other, or set a timer on their messages so they self-destruct.

So Anonymous closing down thousands of Twitter accounts isn’t eliminating terrorism – it’s just pushing it further underground, out of sight

‘When it comes to terrorist attacks, one of the big worries is that you could take down forums and cost someone their lives,’ a GhostSec spokesman known only as Digital Shadow told Tech.Mic.

‘Anonymous has a habit of shooting in every direction and asking questions later.’

GhostSec, and another similar group called CtrlSec, have an online form where people can report any terror activity they see online.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Box office preview: Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 aims for $120 million

Katniss Everdeen is about to make her final box office bow, capping off a film franchise whose first three installments brought in a whopping $2.3 billion worldwide.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 is expected to debut around $120 million, on par with Part 1, which opened this time last year to $121.9 million. It went on to gross $337.1 million domestically and $755.4 million worldwide. While the latest Mockingjay isn’t expected to reach the box office heights of the first Hunger Games and Catching Fire, it should beat out this year’s Minions debut to become the fourth-biggest opening of 2015.

The odds are definitely in Mockingjay’s favor, and it will handily take home the box office crown this weekend, but Mockingjay isn’t the only new release hitting theaters. The Christmas-themed comedy The Night Before and the crime thriller Secret in Their Eyes are also opening, as are Carol and Legend in limited release.

Here’s how this weekend might play out at the box office:

1. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 — $120 million

After huge debuts for the first two installments in theHunger Games franchise, last year’s Mockingjay – Part 1 took a bit of a box office dip. Catching Fire andThe Hunger Games clock in as the eighth and ninth biggest domestic debuts of all time, with $158.1 million and $152.5 million apiece, making Catching Fire the biggest opening ever for a movie with a female lead.Mockingjay 1, on the other hand, only (only?) brought in $121.9 million in its debut. That’s about what Part 2is expected to make this weekend, although it could see a slight boost from fans turning out for the franchise’s final chapter. Even if the latest Mockingjay won’t, um, catch fire, a debut above $116 million will make it the fourth-biggest opening of the year.

Mockingjay – Part 2 has a budget of $160 million, and critical reviews have been generally better than last year’s installment, but not as overwhelmingly positive as the first two films. It currently holds a 72 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. After helming Catching Fire and Mockingjay – Part 1, Francis Lawrence returns to direct the final installment in Suzanne Collins’ YA saga, which stars Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth.

In addition to its big domestic haul, Mockingjay should also pull in some huge global numbers, as it’s opening in 4,175 North American theaters and more than 33,000 theaters in in 87 international territories. Those territories include an unusual same-day release in China.

2. Spectre — $16.8 million

After opening to $70.4 million two weeks ago, Spectre spent its second weekend at the top of the charts with $33.7 million. To date, it’s grossed more than $137 million domestically for a global total of more than $550 million. But after reigning for two weeks without much opposition, Spectre’s facing a steep fall of about 50 percent, as the Girl on Fire will prove tough competition for Bond.

3. The Peanuts Movie — $13.2 million

While the big-screen story of Charles M. Schulz’s beloved characters hasn’t pulled in 007-level numbers, it’s had a solid run since debuting two weeks ago opposite Spectre. The Peanuts Movie has benefitted from being one of the only family-friendly films in theaters right now, and its domestic total is now at $85.3 million. This weekend, it’s expected to drop about 45 percent for a third weekend of $13.2 million.

4. The Night Before — $13 million

Directed by Jonathan Levine, the R-rated comedy about three lifelong friends reuniting for a wild Christmas Eve stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, and Anthony Mackie. Reviews have been decent but mixed, with a 67 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but The Night Before is expected to land somewhere in the low to mid-teens.

5. Secret In Their Eyes — $8 million

Billy Ray’s dark crime drama follows a team of investigators looking into the murder of one of their own daughters. Even with a star-studded cast, headlined by Julia Roberts, Nicole Kidman, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, critical reception has been poor, with a 31 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the second big release for distributor STX Entertainment, who had a surprise hit earlier this year with The Gift, which opened to $11.9 million and went on to gross $43.8 million domestically. Secret In Their Eyes is expected to debut around $8 million.

At the specialty box office, two high-profile films are getting limited releases. The 1950s lesbian drama Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, is debuting in four theaters, as is the gangster dramaLegend, starring Tom Hardy as the notorious London gangsters Reggie and Ronnie Kray. Since opening in the United Kingdom in September, Legend has earned more than $27.9 million.

Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans fall 19-13 to Jacksonville Jaguars: Live chat recap

Marcus Mariota and his Tennessee Titans teammates lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars 19-13 on Thursday Night Football.

Jaguars kicker Jason Myers makes a 36-yard field goal and extends Jacksonville's lead to 19-13 with 2:19 remaining in regulation.

Jacksonville takes back the lead, 16-13 after quarterback Blake Bortles connects with Julius Thomas 5-yards for the touchdown.

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota scores the first touchdown of the game on a 23-yard keeper. The Titans hold a 13-9 lead over the Jaguars with 5:22 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Jacksonville's Jason Myers connects on his third field goal of the night, this time from 20 yards out to give the Jaguars a 9-6 lead in the 3rd quarter.

Succop added a 49-yard field goal in the second quarter to give the Titans a 6-3 lead. Jacksonville evened the score 6-6 with a 32-yard field goal from Myers just before halftime.

Tennessee's Ryan Succop kicks a 47-yard field goal to give the Titans a 3-0 lead over the Jaguars in the first quarter. The Jaguars responded with a field goal of their own to start the second quarter, 31-yards form Jason Myers.

First half recap:

The Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars ended the first half tied 6-6.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 10 of 17 passes for 128 yards. Tennessee running back Antonio Andrews rushed for 24 yards on six attempts.

Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles completed 10 of 15 passes for 125 yards.

Second half recap:

Jacksonville kicker Jason Myers added two field goals in he second half for the Jaguars (20 and 36 yards).

Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota scored the first touchdown of the game with a 23-yard keeper with 5:22 left in the third quarter. Overall, Mariota completed 22 of 35 passes for 231 yards. He was sacked four times throughout the game.

Blake Bortles connected with Julius Thomas 5-yards for the go-ahead touchdown with 3:30 remaining in regulation. Bortles threw for 242 yards and completed 21/30 passes. He also threw an interception.

Follow along in the comments section, and add your own thoughts on the game by signing in below as we bring you analysis of Mariota's performance and live updates from the field as they happen.

Jared Fogle, ex-Subway spokesman, gets 15 years in prison for child porn, sex crimes

Former Subway spokesman Jared Fogle was sentenced Thursday to more than 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to federal charges related to child pornography and sexual conduct involving minors.

Fogle faced two counts: traveling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor, and distribution and receipt of child pornography.

“How do you plead to the charges?” U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Walton Pratt asked Fogle on Thursday at the federal courthouse in Indianapolis,according to the Indianapolis Star.

“Guilty,” Fogle replied.

Pratt sentenced him to 15 years and eight months behind bars, according to the Associated Press.

The news service reported that prosecutors had recommended a 12½-year sentence.

“The level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,” the judge said, according to the Star.

[Jared Fogle admitted to sex crimes against minors. Why wasn’t he charged with rape?]

The AP reported that Fogle’s family grew emotional as Pratt announced the sentence.

Some of Fogle’s family members in the courtroom started crying and hugging each other when he ordered taken into immediate custody.

Federal marshals had Fogle remove his suit jacket, tie and belt before they handcuffed him behind his back. Fogle blew kisses to relatives as he was led away.

Fogle’s attorney had announced in August that his client would enter a guilty plea to the charges, which came after a raid at the ex-sandwich pitchman’s Indiana home.

Court documents released earlier this year detailed the allegations against Fogle. The documents claimed that he had used Web sites to solicit commercial sex and that he had traveled to engage in sexual acts with minors. Authorities also believe that Fogle received images and videos of nude children from the former executive director of his charity foundation.

That man, Russell Taylor, has agreed to plead guilty to child exploitation and child pornography charges.

Before his sentencing, Fogle delivered a statement in which he apologized for his actions, the Star reported.

Fogle’s voice cracked and he sobbed as he said, “Not a day will go by when I don’t think about what I did to (the victims).”

“Members of my family are also victims of my acts,” he said before noting that his wife will be a single mother.

“You gave your wife $7 million, so she’ll be OK,” the judge said, interrupting.

Fogle — who said he lost more than 200 pounds by exercising and eating Subway sandwiches — had long served as spokesman for Subway, as the story of his diet helped the Connecticut-based sandwich chain market itself as a healthier option.

But after Fogle’s home in Zionsville, Ind., was raided in July, Subway announced that the company and Fogle had “mutually agreed to suspend their relationship.” When a report about the federal charges emerged, Subway said that it already ended its relationship with Fogle, though it was unclear exactly when that occurred.

According to the AP, a psychiatrist who had analyzed Fogle said Thursday that the 38-year-old suffers from hypersexuality, “mild pedophilia” and alcohol abuse and dependency.

John Bradford, a professor at the University of Ottawa in Canada, testified by phone Thursday “that Fogle appears to have had a compulsive eating disorder and that he began to develop hypersexuality shortly after losing weight,” the AP reported.

According to AP:

Bradford says Fogle told him he had sex with minors age 16 and 17 and had “a fairly extensive history” of using prostitutes. He says Fogle told him he masturbated to fantasies about prepubescent girls, but that there’s no evidence he acted on them.

According to the Star, Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said in court Thursday that Fogle “can’t control his demons.”

“For most of my adult life, I’ve been in the spotlight, trying to be a role model,” Fogle told the judge Thursday, according to the Star. “…I became dependent on alcohol, pornography and prostitutes.”

Drew Harwell and Abby Phillip contributed to this report, which has been updated.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Instant Analysis: Oklahoma topples Baylor, muddles Big 12 playoff picture


Oklahoma knocked out one of the Big 12’s two remaining undefeated teams and kept itself alive in the Big 12 title hunt with a 44–34 win against No. 6 Baylor. Here are three thoughts from a rainy night in Waco.

1.The Sooners’ three biggest offensive stars came up huge

Quarterback Baker Mayfield completed 24 of 34 passes for 270 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed 15 times for 76 yards and a touchdown. Tailback Samaje Perine carried 28 times for 166 yards with two touchdowns. Meanwhile, receiver Sterling Shepard caught 14 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bears sliced No. 12 Oklahoma’s lead to three when quarterback Jarrett Stidham hit Jay Lee for a 17-yard touchdown with 10:29 remaining. It appeared Baylor would get the ball back when a Travon Blanchard sack of Mayfield forced the Sooners into third-and-long deep in their own territory. But Blanchard was called for a horse collar tackle on the play, and Oklahoma went from third-and-forever to first-and-10 at its own 32. Mayfield guided the Sooners down the field after that. On third-and-goal from the seven, he danced in the pocket behind excellent protection before hitting Dimitri Flowers for a touchdown.

On Baylor’s next play from scrimmage, Ahmad Thomasintercepted Stidham. The Sooners then ran out the clock.

Stidham, the true freshman who was making his second start in place of the injured Seth Russell, completed 16 of 27 passes for 257 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Sooners held Baylor star Corey Coleman to only six targets, resulting in three catches for 51 yards. Coleman caught two passes that had floated out of bounds in the first half, and he dropped a slant before getting clobbered in the third quarter. Oklahoma kept a safety to his side for most of the night. With their best playmaker covered, the rest of the Bears couldn’t pick up the slack.

2. Oklahoma’s win complicates the Big 12’s playoff picture

The Sooners moves on to the next stage of the Big 12 knockout round, but their win complicates matters in terms of a Big 12 team making the playoff. It would have been much tidier for the Big 12 had Baylor won and then faced Oklahoma State in a clash of undefeated teams in Stillwater next week. Now, the Sooners move on to a matchup with a potentially hobbled TCU in Norman next week. Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin left Saturday’s win against Kansasafter a first-half ankle injury and didn’t return.

Like Ohio State last year, Oklahoma looks like a completely different team than the one that suffered an early-season loss. Since falling 24–17 to Texas on Oct. 10, the Sooners have won their past five by a combined score of 276–84.

Because of that loss to Texas, Oklahoma must keep winning and probably needs to hope for some chaos elsewhere. For example, aMichigan State win at Ohio State next week could be a huge boon. The last thing the Sooners want is to wind up fighting an 11–1 Notre Dame for the final playoff spot. Why? Because Notre Dame would also have several quality wins and a 38–3 win against Texas that isn’t even close to one of its best. The Fighting Irish’s loss, meanwhile, is at Clemson. The Sooners really need Stanford to beat Notre Dame on Nov. 28 and eliminate them from the playoff hunt.

It also goes without saying that Oklahoma needs to beat TCU next week and Oklahoma State on Oct. 28. That might be difficult enough.

3. It’s time to seriously consider Mayfield for the Heisman Trophy

Before Saturday’s game, Oklahoma sports information director Mike Houck passed out a sheet that showed the numbers for Mayfield compared to the numbers for the past 13 quarterbacks to win the Heisman through the first nine games of their Heisman seasons.
Mayfield’s numbers do stack up favorably, and his performance in the Sooners’ biggest game to date only helps his cause.

Floyd Mayweather has unexpected reaction to Ronda Rousey’s knockout loss

In the wake of Ronda Rousey’s shocking knockout loss Saturday to Holly Holm at UFC 193, some of her known antagonists took the opportunity to gloat. For example, one mixed martial arts rival, Miesha Tate, said she was “[expletive] stoked” while another, Cris Cyborg, simply tweeted out a happy-face emoticon.

[Laila Ali on Ronda Rousey: A real champ wouldn’t get beat up like that]

So surely another major figure in the world of combat sports, one who has been the subject of many of Rousey’s verbal jabs, would also take delight in her defeat, right? I am referring to retired boxer Floyd Mayweather, who may or may not have been serious when he said of Rousey last year, “I don’t know who he is.”

Since then, Rousey, who has never been shy about taking a shot at someone she doesn’t like, has made Mayweather a frequent target. In May, she said of a hypothetical match against the boxer, who has spent time in jail for domestic violence, “I don’t think that me and him would ever fight — unless we ended up dating.”

In the wake of Ronda Rousey’s shocking knockout loss Saturday to Holly Holm at UFC 193, some of her known antagonists took the opportunity to gloat. For example, one mixed martial arts rival, Miesha Tate, said she was “[expletive] stoked” while another, Cris Cyborg, simply tweeted out a happy-face emoticon.

[Laila Ali on Ronda Rousey: A real champ wouldn’t get beat up like that]

So surely another major figure in the world of combat sports, one who has been the subject of many of Rousey’s verbal jabs, would also take delight in her defeat, right? I am referring to retired boxer Floyd Mayweather, who may or may not have been serious when he said of Rousey last year, “I don’t know who he is.”

Since then, Rousey, who has never been shy about taking a shot at someone she doesn’t like, has made Mayweather a frequent target. In May, she said of a hypothetical match against the boxer, who has spent time in jail for domestic violence, “I don’t think that me and him would ever fight — unless we ended up dating.”

[Floyd Mayweather fires back with possibly disturbing shot at Ronda Rousey]

So you might think that, after Holm’s kick to the head sent the previously undefeated UFC star tumbling to the canvas, Mayweather would be more than ready and willing to kick Rousey while she was down. Well, actually, in his first public comments on the topic, he provided some very even-handed thoughts.

“Just in boxing period, contact sports period, you win some, you lose some,” Mayweather said Sunday to David Mayo of “I don’t know about this fight, I just know that you win some and you lose some. It basically comes with the territory.”

Interesting wording from Mayweather, considering that, far from losing “some,” he never lost any in his professional career, retiring with a 49-0 record after beating Andre Berto in September. And that, of course, could have been his intention — to remind everyone that he is one of the truly exceptional figures in combat sports, while attempting to take the air of the much-hyped Rousey’s balloon.

[Lady Gaga says Ronda Rousey got what she deserved for poor sportsmanship]

Mayweather did reiterate to Mayo his previously stated dismay that Rousey was put on the cover of venerable boxing magazine The Ring. She became the first MMA fighter accorded that honor, but Mayweather thinks it makes his sport “look bad.”

Perhaps he is taking some comfort in the fact that it took a woman relatively new to MMA after a lengthy career as a boxer to topple the face of the UFC. But if Mayweather is gloating over Rousey’s stunning defeat, he isn’t (yet) saying so.

[UFC announcer Joe Rogan’s face after Ronda Rousey’s defeat said it all]

'It sickens me': Ariel Winter fires back at body shamers over bikini picture

Have something you want to say about Ariel Winter's body? Then get ready for the 17-year-old "Modern Family" actress to strike back, hard.

The controversy erupted Friday when Winter posted a photo to Instagram of herself wearing a bikini, grinning along with her two young nieces:

Among the ensuing comments that followed (many of which were the equivalent of a thumbs-up), Winter received a barrage of negative thoughts, including some people who apparently thought that by wearing a bathing suit she was "asking for it."

Winter did not let that stand, and posted a second photo of a woman with her leg marked up, indicating what a skirt length might imply about her to some people (up high is "whore," down low is "prudish").

And in the caption to that picture, she took those who left judging comments to task:

"Who knew that an innocent photo with my nieces would turn into this? The height of a girl's skirt or whatever she is wearing for that matter, does not imply what she is asking for. It sickens me to think at 17 years old, a photo of myself with my nieces is suggesting that I'm 'asking for it,'" she wrote.

MORE: 'Modern Family' teen Ariel Winter scores $6 million in contract renegotiation

"I typically never give power to the mean things people bravely say behind their computer screens on the Internet, but this is for the girls who are constantly bullied whether it be online or at school," she continued. "You are not asking for anything because of what you are wearing — you are expressing yourself and don't you ever think you deserve the negativity as the consequence to what you are wearing — YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL. Celebrate you and don't let anyone's comments allow you to think less of yourself. Us girls have to stick together!!!!!!"

MORE: Emmy Awards red carpet 2015: See the best-dressed stars!

Fans have responded. On the original post, one wrote, "Currently deployed to Iraq, this is the kind of stuff I hate seeing. I'm just 2 years older than @arielwinter, and I'm over here doing this. I think she has the right to wear what she wants. It looks like you had a good time with your nieces!"

And on the second post, another wrote, "You are beautiful inside and out & such a wonderful role model for girls all over the world!!"

Monday, November 16, 2015

Julian Edelman has broken foot, report says

The Patriots lost receiver Julian Edelman to a foot injury late in the first quarter of Sunday’s 27-26 win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium. reported Edelman has a broken foot. ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Edelman is having surgery Monday.

The team’s top receiver and one of Tom Brady’s favorite and most reliable targets was hurt after a catching a 12-yard pass on the final play of the quarter.

Edelman left for the locker room with a noticeable limp after being examined on the bench by the medical staff. He was originally listed as questionable to return but the Patriots later announced he would not return.

Edelman had four catches for 53 yards in the first quarter, including a 30-yard connection two plays before he was hurt.
Deep covered

Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, whose 54-yard field goal was the difference Sunday, is the first to reach an 80 percent success rate from 50 yards or longer.

Gostkowski has made 81 percent (17 for 21) of his career field goal tries from 50-plus. He is 4 for 4 from 50-plus in 2015, including a career-best 57-yard kick.

Gostkowski’s 17 field goals of 50-plus yards are the most in team history. His game-winner Sunday gave him a franchise-record 264 field goals.

It was plenty deep, too. Gostkowski had been booming kicks through the same uprights from farther back before the game.

“The ball definitely carried better that way,’’ he said. “It was a pretty calm day for this time of year, especially in the Northeast. It was a good night to kick.’’

Good feelings

After the Giants took a 26-24 lead with less than two minutes left, things didn’t look good for the Patriots, but special teams captain Matthew Slater was still feeling good.

“I remember looking at Nate Ebner when we got the ball back on that and saying, ‘Hey, I wouldn’t want any other quarterback in this situation’ . . . had a couple plays that could have gone either way but at the end of the day, 12 [Brady] made the plays he needed to make.

“[Rob] Gronkowski and those guys all produced and then Stephen the machine just continued to be the machine.’’

Pregame sights

Among the more interesting pregame scenes was Patriots owner Robert Kraftchatting with commissioner Roger Goodell and Jon Bon Jovi.

Later, team president Jonathan Kraft had a lengthy conversation with Goodell. Some tweets indicated it was an animated discussion. Kraft disagreed.

“I think I’m always animated. I may or may not have been animated,’’ he said. “We were having a very civil conversation, we were talking about e-commerce and some digital media stuff.

“There is other business, so separate those two things and that’s the way it’s working right now. The conversation was not animated. I might use my hands a lot to talk. It was definitely not an animated conversation.’’

Asked if this was Goodell’s first Patriots game of the season, Kraft said, “He’s the commissioner of the league. He didn’t say this to me, but he lives in New York, and the situation that happened on Friday in Paris, part of what took place there was at a sporting event, and I think one of Roger’s motives — he didn’t say this to me — was to be visible at a sporting event.’’

Fells spotted

Giants tight end Daniel Fells, a former Patriot, was spotted on the sideline before the game. He is recovering from an MRSA infection in his foot and there were fears earlier in the season that he could lose his foot . . . Also spotted was former Rutgers playerEric LeGrand, who was paralyzed during a game in college. Patriots defendersDevin McCourty, Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, and Jonathan Freeny all played at Rutgers . . . Referee Ed Hochuli had a microphone malfunction during the television break between the end of the third quarter and the start of the fourth. He was discussing a complaint the Patriots sideline had on Josh Brown’s 53-yard field goal attempt with his crew but left the mic on, momentarily letting the entire stadium in on the conversation . . . The Patriots clinched their 15th straight winning season . . . The Patriots have scored in an NFL-record 35 straight quarters . . . Defensive endJabaal Sheard returned for the first time since injuring his ankle against the Colts in Week 6. He had been limited in practice. Additionally, offensive lineman Chris Barker made his season debut. He was promoted from the practice squad Saturday night. The Patriots were without offensive linemen Sebastian Vollmer (concussion),Marcus Cannon (toe), and Tre’ Jackson (knee). The other inactives were receiverKeshawn Martin (hamstring), defensive lineman Trey Flowers, and safety Tavon Wilson.

Vincent ‘Don Vito’ Margera, reality TV star turned sex offender, dead at 59

He was fat. He was slow. He was often intoxicated, and/or appeared to have a speech impediment. If it was an act, it didn’t seem like it. And if he was in on the joke — which ended in 2007, when he was found guilty of molesting two teenage girls and legally barred from portraying his reality TV “character” — it didn’t seem like it.

Now, Vincent “Don Vito” Margera — the uncle of “Jackass”-affiliated prankmeister Bam Margera and the heel of his nephew’s MTV reality show “Viva La Bam” — is dead at 59. Margera battled liver and kidney failure in his final years, as his family told TMZ, and died Sunday.

“He struggled with kidney and liver issues for a while, and he put up a good fight,” his sister-in-law April Margera told CNN. “But he died this morning at 6:45 a.m. at Chester County Hospital in West Chester, Pennsylvania.”

“RIP Don Vito,” Johnny Knoxville, the closest thing to an A-list star that came from the “Jackass” franchise, wrote. “You will be missed.”

Others offered measured praise — or outright criticism.

“Don Vito died?” one user wrote on Twitter. “No loss. Too bad it wasn’t before he touched kids and whatnot.”

“I thought Don Vito died like 7 years ago,” another wrote.

This wasn’t just humor or hyperbole. In the wake of his sex crimes, Margera was barred, by a Colorado court, from playing the character of Don Vito — so named for his mumbling, a la Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone in “The Godfather.” The problem: Vincent Margera was Don Vito, and Don Vito was Vincent Margera. It’s a question as relevant to Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” as it is to “Keeping Up the Kardashians”: How can one stop playing oneself?

Before the rise of reality TV, Vincent Margera would likely have lived and died quietly in the Philadelphia suburb where he lived for decades. But his nephew, skateboarder Bam, rose to prominence as a member of MTV’s “Jackass” crew. Known for its cast’s irreverent, ridiculous — and sometimes dangerous — shenanigans, “Jackass” proved an incredibly popular MTV series and feature-film franchise. Bam’s spin-off, “Viva La Bam,” hit the air in 2003. And in this spotlight, Don Vito became a star — or, depending on one’s view, a black hole.

There is nothing new about less-than-beautiful characters getting abuse from those whose names are at the top of the marquee. Moe slapped Curly; Seinfeld put Newman in his place. But on “Viva La Bam,” the routine humiliation dumped on Don Vito, an obese middle-aged man who appeared to have issues with alcohol and a less-than-gentlemanly view of women, by his photogenic young nephew always seemed cruel and unusual. It wasn’t clear that Vincent/Vito really understood what was going on.

In one representative episode — “Destination: Mexico,” which aired in 2005 and does not hold up well — Bam and company depart for sunny south of the border, leaving Don Vito in snowy Pennsylvania.

Bam: We’re going to Mexico. You guys wanna go?

Vito: We’re going to Mexico.

Bam: You’re not going.

Vito: I know Mexican.

Bam: It’s not Mexican, it’s Spanish. And you don’t know Spanish.

Vito: I know uno, dos, tres, cuatro.

Bam: That’s not going to do any good and I don’t feel like spending my vacation bailing you out of a Mexican prison.

Vito: [unintelligible outburst] … I should get to go!

Bam: How bad do you want to go?

Vito: I want to go bad because I like the senoritas.

Bam then tells Vito he will give him a Hummer if Vito can master 10 sentences in Spanish.

Vito: What are you going to do if I don’t learn the Mexican people language?

Bam: You are going to be my pet Mexican.

Vito: A pet Mexican? What the hell is a pet Mexican?

Bam: You’ll find out.

The episode concludes when, after several embarrassing attempts to learn 10 Spanish sentences, Don Vito fails. In the final minute of the show, Bam crowns his uncle with a sombrero into which he pours salsa. Bam and his crew then dip tortilla chips into the salsa and eat it off of Vito’s head.

MTV is no stranger to poor taste. This episode, and many others, likely would have disappeared among the network’s many “spring break” adventures and other questionable programming. However, in real life beyond reality TV, Vincent Margera inhabited “Don Vito” all too well. In 2006, he was arrested after allegedly groping three girls — two 12-year-olds and a 14-year-old — at an autograph signing in Lakewood, Colo.

“This man was out of control during this public event,” prosecutor Jim Stanley said. “He was so intoxicated that he peed his pants while with these children.”

Margera’s defense was curious: His attorney argued her client was merely inhabiting the poorly-behaved Don Vito when he transgressed.

“Fans came to see the crazy, outrageous, profane uncle,” Pamela Mackey, Margera’s lawyer, said. “That’s who they wanted their picture taken with. Fans expected to see Don Vito, not Vincent Margera … You may find the behavior vulgar and disgusting, but it was done to amuse, to entertain, to get a laugh.”

A jury, not convinced, found Margera guilty of two counts of sexual assault on a child. When the verdict was read, Margera collapsed in court. His words were chilling.

“You might as well kill me now!” he shouted.

Margera, who could have spent six years in jail, faced a somewhat bizarre sentence. He had to register as a sex offender and spend 10 years on probation — that was routine. But to avoid jail, a judge ordered that Margera could “no longer be Don Vito” for a decade.

The victims seem satisfied with the verdict.

“I’m glad we haven’t dropped as a society to where touching young girls is entertainment,”one victim’s grandmother said at the time.

Margera appeared to comply with the ruling. Scenes in which he appearedwere reportedly cut from a subsequent “Jackass” film. Between his conviction and his death, he largely disappeared from press reports.

In comments posted to YouTube in 2012, Bam Margera angrily addressed what appeared to be civil claims filed against his uncle. There was no point to pursuing such actions, Bam said. Vito was broke.

“Guess what, lady?” Bam said. “Vito doesn’t have any f—king money. He has a red Ford Ranger and that’s it.” (Bam Margera was not immediately available for comment.)

Vito, however, said he had no regrets.

“He said to me last week that he wanted everyone to know it was a good ride,” sister-in-law April Margera told CNN. “He enjoyed himself and wanted to thank all the fans. He went through a lot, especially with the Denver stuff. He wanted everyone to know that he never did that.”

Cardinals scorch Seahawks, tighten grip on NFC West

All week, Seattle Seahawks players insisted Sunday night was just another game.

In Arizona, the Cardinals were treating it as anything but.

“We addressed this game as we wanted to show the nation that we’re for real this year,” cornerbackPatrick Peterson said after the Cardinals’ 39-32 triumph. “We thought this was an opportunity for us to come in here and show the world that we are a contender, not a pretender.”

Rallying past the two-time defending NFC champions in prime time might have a little more shine if the Seahawks hadn’t already let four other fourth-quarter leads slip away this season.

But there’s an emotional aspect to sending fans to the exits with two minutes to go at CenturyLink Field, where the Seahawks have been so formidable. And the tangible impact can’t be denied.

Up three games with seven to go, the NFC West is the Cardinals’ to lose.

“Once we beat Cleveland and going into the bye, everything was about ‘take control of the division,’” defensive lineman Calais Campbell said. “It feels really good to do that.”

The Cardinals did it Sunday despite blowing an early 19-0 lead and falling behind early in the fourth quarter, thanks to a pair of strip-sacks on quarterback Carson Palmer as the Seahawks’ pass rush exploited and exacerbated issues with the protection.

“After some disastrous drives, basically giving them 14 points,” coach Bruce Arians said, “to come right back speaks volumes about the character we have in that locker room.”

They did it despite watching left guard Mike Iupati taken off the field in an ambulance with a neck injury that sent him to a local hospital for testing. (An MRI and CT scan came back normal, the team said, and Iupati flew home with the team.)

They did it despite having two of their top receivers, Michael Floyd and John Brown, hobbled by hamstring injuries, leaving little-used Jaron Brown to make a pivotal play: a 10-yard catch on a ball batted into the air by Seahawks star Richard Sherman, extending Arizona’s go-ahead drive.

“All year, we’ve kind of been the team that’s going to blow a team out, or if it’s close, we lose it,” running back Chris Johnson said. “Championship teams – you’ve got to win those type of games when it’s close in the fourth quarter and we got the ball.”

The Cardinals led this division at this stage last season, too. But they lost Palmer in their ninth game – the most damaging blow in a series of them that left Arizona limping into the playoffs with a fourth-string quarterback and backups all over.

The Cardinals were outscored 54-9 in two losses to the Seahawks last season with Drew Stanton and Ryan Lindley at quarterback. On Sunday, Palmer was 29-of-48 for 363 yards with three touchdowns (and one pick early) before Andre Ellington’s 48-yard TD run all but iced it with 1:58 to go.

“I’ve always said I wanted to come back with Carson,” Arians said. “I don’t mind coming here with Carson any day of the week.”

The Arizona defense did its part, too, repeatedly forcing the Seahawks into passing situations on second- and third-and-long. Marshawn Lynch got just eight carries for 42 yards, and Russell Wilson was 14-of-32 passing with a touchdown and a poorly thrown interception to Tyrann Mathieu. The Cardinals ran 84 plays to Seattle’s 52 and had the ball for nearly 39 minutes.

Set aside that awful stretch early in the fourth quarter, and this was a relatively dominant effort on the road against the team that has owned the division and the conference the past two seasons.

“What’s our reward?” receiver Larry Fitzgerald said. “Another game on Sunday Night Football next week against undefeated Cincinnati.”

Another opportunity to show what these Cardinals are about – not that anyone’s opinion changes the fact they’re set up well to finish off one title and keep working toward another.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Marshawn Lynch is truly 50-50 to play

Every week, plenty of players are listed as questionable for their next game, which means there’s a 50-50 chance the player will play. Then comes Sunday morning, when the Twitter version of the Cannonball Run lets everyone know who will be playing and who won’t be playing, despite being 50-50.

Sure, it’s an imperfect process (e.g., T.Y. Hiltonlast week, who per multiple national reports would play but did). It’s nevertheless become one of the Sunday morning rituals as to all players who, as of Friday, were 50-50 to play.

This week, the most important player on the 50-50 list is Seahawks running backMarshawn Lynch. Via multiple entries in the Twitterball Run, Lynch remains 50-50 to play.

Lynch, who last played two weeks ago, was added to the injury report on Friday with an abdominal problem. It would be surprising if he doesn’t play in a key prime-time game against the Cardinals. If he doesn’t play, and if Thomas Rawls comes in and does well on the big stage, it becomes even more likely that, come next year, the Seahawks won’t tiptoe on eggshells to persuade Lynch to return for another season.

In 2016, Lynch is due to earn $9 million, with a cap number of $11.5 million. Rawls, in contrast, has a $525,000 salary — with a cap number of $530,000.

Before paying Lynch 18 times more than Rawls, the Seahawks have to ask themselves whether Lynch is 18 times better than Rawls.

So far this year, Lynch has 375 yards rushing in six games, with an average of 3.6 yards per carry. Rawls, who has played in every game and started three, has 376 yards — and an average of 5.4 yards per attempt.

Already, Rawls is more productive. If Rawls is both more productive and more available than Lynch, whether to keep the guy who’ll make 5.8 percent of what Lynch is due to make in 2016 becomes a no-brainer.

Vincent Margera, 'Don Vito' From 'Viva La Bam,' Dead at 59

Vincent Margera, who appeared as Bam Margera's crazy uncle "Don Vito" on the MTV series Viva La Bam and an episode of Jackass, passed away Sunday morning after years of declining health. He was 59. Bam Margera's mother April Margera confirmed the death to TMZ, who added that Margera had been suffering from liver and kidney failure in recent years and eventually slipped into a coma in October. Although he woke up from the coma, Margera remained in critical condition as his health continued to deteriorate in recent weeks.

Margera became a fan favorite on Viva La Bam, which ran from 2003 to 2006 on MTV, thanks to his inscrutable form of talking – often mocked with faux subtitles – as well as being the hapless victim of his nephew's frequent pranks. "Don Vito" also featured in Bam Margera's many CKY videos as well as other appearances under the Jackass umbrella.

Following the end of Viva La Bam in 2006, Margera faced legal issues stemming from an incident at a Colorado autograph session in August 2006 where he was charged with groping two 12-year-old girls. At trial in December 2007, Margera was ultimately found guilty of two counts of sexual assault on a minor and sentenced to 10 years of "serious" probation, which banned him from further portraying "Don Vito" in any capacity. He was also sentenced to register as a sex offender in Colorado and his native Pennsylvania. Since then, Margera remained largely out of the spotlight.

One of Don Vito's final appearances was Vito and Dunn's Rock Tour. That 2006 video co-starred Jackass member Ryan Dunn, who died in an alcohol-related car accident in June 2011.

Snap judgments from Week 11 of college football

College football's biggest story lines can build up or get knocked down in one snap. After a Saturday full of action and overreaction, we're here to help you figure out what's hot, what's not and what's true as the season enters the home stretch.

Here are five story lines to know (and, in some cases, debunk).

This week's Snap Judgments:

1. The Pac-12's Playoff chances are kaput.

Stanford missed a two-point conversion in the final minute Saturday and lost at home to Oregon, its second loss of the season and likely the nail in the coffin of its College Football Playoff chances. Stanford could have a shot if it wins out and every team left in the Big 12 round robin loses between now and Dec. 5, but that's unlikely.

In the wake of Stanford's loss, Utah stood as last remaining one-loss team in the league, with that one loss coming on an improving USC team's field. Nothing to be ashamed of, actually.

Well, that lasted for about two hours, until Arizona knocked off the Utes in double overtime. The Pac-12 was the first Power Five league to have no unbeaten teams, and now it's the first to have no one-loss teams. Almost makes you want to re-think that nine-game schedule.
2. TCU is a shell of itself without Trevone Boykin.

Boykin, arguably the best quarterback in college football, left Saturday's game against Kansas with an ankle injury, and the Horned Frogs barely escaped with a win over the Big 12 bottom-dweller. TCU has been hit badly by injuries since before the season began, but none is as important Boykin's. He is perhaps the most integral piece of any major college football program this season.

Good news: TCU seems optimistic Boykin can play next week. But if he's not 100% healthy, the remainder of the Horned Frogs' season could be dicey.
3. The ACC has two Playoff contenders.

Clemson, No. 1 in the committee's top 25, is a given. North Carolina is looking more and more like one every week. The Tar Heels haven't clinched the ACC Coastaldivision, but that seems but just a formality at this point. So let's look ahead to an intriguing ACC title game matchup.

Clemson, which skated past Syracuse on Saturday, looked a little more beatable than it has in recent weeks. UNC, on the other hand, continued its offensive assault, with a 59-21 win against Miami to follow a 66-31 demolition of Duke. Those who thought Florida State would give Clemson its greatest test before the College Football Playoff might have been wrong. It's actually UNC — in the ACC championship game.
4. Leonard Fournette won't win the Heisman.

It wasn't as bad as his performance against the stout Alabama front seven, but Fournette struggled for a second consecutive weekend — accumulating just 91 yards on 19 carries in LSU's home loss to Arkansas on Saturday night. It's unclear whether opponents now seem to have a blueprint to stop Fournette or if he's hit a wall at this point in the season, but the presumed Heisman Trophy favorite has likely lost his grip on the award.

It definitely doesn't help that Alabama running back Derrick Henry seems to be hitting his stride at the same time as Fournette's struggles. Or that Oklahoma quarterbackBaker Mayfield is a late entrant to the Heisman race.
5. Houston is in the driver's seat for a New Year's Six bowl — for now.

How about that comeback against Memphis? Houston rallied to win, 35-34, and advance to 10-0. The Cougars have two wins vs. Power Five opponents thanks to their games vs. Louisville and Vanderbilt, but Houston proved plenty in beating the Tigers on Saturday. But don't overlook that visit from 8-1 Navy the day after Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Have Dog, Will Travel

I think I knew Fallout 4 had wormed its way into my brain when I started talking to my imaginary dog. About 20 hours into the staggeringly ambitious, post-apocalyptic video game, which Bethesda Games releases on Tuesday, my character’s loyal German Shepherd ran ahead of me to sniff at something. I’d met the dog early on and adopted him as a loyal companion, one who helped alert me to nearby threats and dug around for buried treasure. As he sniffed, I said aloud, to an empty room, “You got something, boy?”

Playing video games is often an embarrassingly involving experience. In the past, I’ve struggled to explain an emotional moment in a game to others, before realizing that it might be difficult for them to relate when they haven’t played. Fallout 4 throws this disconnect into even sharper relief—even for players of the exact same game. That’s because it operates on an even grander, more open-ended scale than 2008’s legendaryFallout 3. Set some 200 years after a nuclear apocalypse devastates the world, players assume the role of a wanderer who’s just emerged back on the surface. The rest is up to them. For some, that might mean unraveling vast conspiracies. For others, it might just be tending a garden with a dog at your side. The result is an experience that’s deeply intimate and immersive, despite the dizzying array of possibilities.

Video games used to fit into neat categories—role-playing games, strategy games, shooter games. But as consoles have become more powerful, and gaming has become less of a niche activity, everything has begun to merge together into blockbuster powerhouses like Fallout 4. Do you want to run around shooting monsters while wearing a mechanized suit of armor? Do you want to stealthily slip behind locked doors, or charm and connive your way through a complex story? Or do you want to eschew the story entirely and simply walk the blasted landscape of Boston (rendered in impressive detail, as Fallout 3 did for Washington, D.C.) and see what kind of trouble you get into? This is the intoxicating power of the open-world game. Having played Fallout 4 for days, pouring hours and hours into exploring its nooks and crannies, it was still clear it’d be months before I’d experienced anything close to its entire scope.

But back to the dog. If there’s a criticism to be made of Fallout 4 (beyond its buggy programming, which will likely be smoothed out over the next few weeks), it’s that on a surface level, it doesn’t feel that different from the seven-year-oldFallout 3, which also had players emerge from a fallout shelter and explore a giant post-apocalyptic wasteland. To be fair, that game was one of the most successful and acclaimed of all time, and often the rule of video-game sequels is to provide more of the same, but better.

And yet Fallout 3 could sometimes be a merciless slog, marching the player across dull, rubble-strewn landscapes or through D.C.’s labyrinthine Metro tunnels for hours before you reached your goal. Fallout 4 is more interested in giving those journeys some personality, and starting with the dog, you can travel with companions. Playing video games can be a lonely experience, and it’s amazing what a difference even a pretend dog makes.

Beyond that, another new addition to Fallout 4 is communities that you can build from the ground up. The world is littered with debris, both of the traditional and human variety: spoons and tin cans waiting to be recycled for a better purpose, lost souls traveling the world looking for meaning. You can gather people into small towns and start building houses, shops, and farms for them. The result is a sort of small-scale SimCity (or larger-scale Minecraft) that seems to have no particular bearing on the game’s main story (where you hunt your baby’s kidnapper).

When I first realized the scale of this new feature, I was nonplussed: Why insert what feels like a whole other game into a game that’s already so dauntingly massive? But after several hours scavenging around on various missions, I returned to my home base and built a few beds for my meager citizenry. It was when they started thanking me that I realized the game had simply snuck in another emotional hook.

As such, Fallout 4 may not feel like the future of gaming because it resembles so much of its past, cobbled together into a mighty behemoth that requires 10 hours to even begin to understand the scope. But that’s just part of the technological arms race that’s emerged as games get bigger and consoles get more powerful—the successful franchise is one that finds a way to do it all without scaring the customer off at minute one.

For a game so mammoth, Fallout 4 is deceptively simple in its opening: You emerge from your shelter, pistol in hand, a singular mission in mind. Then it does everything it can to derail you from your original goal by offering you distraction upon distraction. The joy is discovering that each distraction offers its own thrills and achievements; the pain is realizing the amount of time it would take to accomplish everything of interest in a world this large. But that’s something about video games that has never changed since their invention: In the best of them, joy and pain always go hand in hand.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Buffalo Bills throttle Miami Dolphins 33-17 to sweep season series

They might be in the same division, but the Dolphins simply aren't in the same league as the Bills.

Buffalo throttled Miami for the second time in three months Sunday. The only difference this time is it happened on the road.

The Bills were simply too fast for the Dolphins on both sides of the ball, roasting the visiting team 33-17 to put Miami's playoff hopes on life support.

That's not to say Buffalo didn't run the ball. The Bills had two 100-yard rushers -- LeSean McCoy and Karlos Williams.

For the second straight game, Mike Pouncey cost his team points with an errant snap. On the Dolphins' first play from scrimmage, he snapped the ball over Tannehill's head and through the back of the end zone for a safety.

The Bills, meanwhile, had little problem with anything offensively on their ensuing drive. A play after Ndamukong Suh whiffed on what would have a been a drive-ending tackle, McCoy busted loose for a 48-yard touchdown run.

The Dolphins finally got their offensive act together in the second quarter, traveling 85 yards to the end zone on nine plays, the last of which a powerful 1-yard touchdown run by Lamar Miller.

A 43-yard field goal by Dan Carpenter late put the Bills up 5, and then a Karlos Williams 11-yard touchdown run put them up double figures. The play was controversial: Williams fumbled the ball near the goal line, but CBS did not have the proper angle to give a definitive replay.

Then, Dolphins interim coach Dan Campbell's inexperience emerged. The Fins had a timeout yet wasted some 10 seconds in their two-minute drive, leaving them just one shot from the 1 yard line. Campbell went for it, but Tannehill's pass sailed incomplete. The Dolphins went to the break down 12.

They cut the deficit to 5 points on the second half's first drive, as Miller again scored from a yard out.

And the Dolphins had the ball with a chance to take the lead when the Bills finally picked on fill-in Jason Fox. Jerry Hughes beat Fox on third down, stripped Tannehill and recovered the ball.

A few minutes later, Campbell's game management again negatively affected his team. The Dolphins forced a Tyrod Taylor incompletion on a third-down play in which the Bills held. Instead of forcing the Bills to attempt a long field goal, Campbell accepted and backed Buffalo up 10 yards.

On the next play, Sammy Watkins roasted Brent Grimes for a 44-yard touchdown.

The Bills later put the game away when Williams raced 38 yards for a back-breaking touchdown.

Read more here:

Redskins at Patriots game-day thread: New England coasts to 27-10 victory

As defeats go, the 27-10 loss that resulted was a team effort, the product of shortcomings in all three facets: dropped passes; poor tackling; and a failure to defend an onside kick. The upshot was a triple dose of humility for Redskins team that clawed back from a 24-point deficit against Tampa Bay in its last outing.

Scott Allen’s best and worst
Best symbolism: LeGarrette Blount bulldozed through the line for a five-yard touchdown on the Patriots’ ensuing drive. The Redskins were flagged for having 12 men on the field on the play. Outside of an impressive stop on third and goal to force a field goal attempt in the third quarter, 13 Redskins wouldn’t have been enough to stop the Patriots’ bruising back for much of the game.

Final: 27-10
New England jumped all over Washington early and slowly salted it away from there. Washington’s only touchdown came in the final minute to make the final look a tad more respectable at 27-10.

Washington faces the Saints at home next week, before going on the road to Carolina. Home games against the NFC East-rival Giants and Cowboys complete the third quarter of the season. Even though the bye week feels like the halfway point, today’s loss put Washington at 3-5 halfway through the 16-game slate.

Early fourth quarter:
Our more frequent updates and insights are on the live blog. But if you’re missing it, well, it’s hard to say how much you’ve missed. This second half lacks drama, especially after Tom Brady threw a touchdown pass to Brandon Bolden to make it 27-3.

The Patriots ran 24 of the first 25 plays in the game, and Washington performed a bit better in the second quarter and got on the board just before the half. The score is 17-3, but some of the first-half stats are still lopsided:

Total yards: New England, 245-89.
Plays: New England, 40-26.
Rushing: New England, 79-33.
Turnovers forced: Washington, 2-1.

Late interception douses a furious comeback by the Packers

 Somehow, after three quarters of unsightly football, of defensive incompetency and, for the most part, offensive stagnation, the Green Bay Packers cobbled together an opportunity to tie the game.
A gutty interception by rookie cornerback Damarious Randall, victimized on an earlier possession for a touchdown pass, handed the Packers the ball at the 22-yard line of the Carolina Panthers. Trailing by 20 points at halftime, the Packers needed just a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to tie the game, to rewrite a game that oozed abysmal for the 45 preceding minutes.
An encroachment penalty inched them 5 yards closer. A fourth-down completion to Randall Cobb yielded a crucial new set of downs. A scramble by Rodgers brought the ball to the 4-yard line.
Rodgers took the snap and danced in the pocket, pressure coming up the middle from Kawann Short. He backpedaled. He threw desperately toward the end zone. He lofted a feeble pass that was intercepted by linebacker Thomas Davis.
A raucous, improbable and altogether stunning comeback was erased. The Packers, down by 20 and pulling within a whisper of tying the game, lost for a second consecutive week, 37-29.
Player of the Game: Newton. Erratic at times with his accuracy, sure, but Newton was simply terrific on Sunday. Like Peyton Manning last week and Philip Rivers two weeks before that, Newton found ways to expose and exploit a Packers' defense that is in serious freefall after three straight horrendous performances. Newton was efficient with his arm (15-of-30 for 297 yards and three touchdowns) and churned out first downs with his legs (57 yards and one touchdown) in a game that was comfortable for the Panthers until the final eight minutes.
Turning point: Trailing 27-7 at halftime after an anemic start to the game, the Packers' pulse flickered early in the third quarter. They took the opening possession of the half 80 yards on just three plays for an enormous momentum-swinging score, capped by a beautiful 53-yard touchdown reception by Randall Cobb. But the defense immediately wilted on the very next drive, and the Panthers marched 82 yards on 13 plays that melted more than six minutes off the clock. It was not until the midway point of the fourth quarter, when Rodgers connected with tailback James Starks for a 29-yard touchdown, that the Packers infused energy into the game. They compiled two breathtaking, no-huddle drives that produced 15 points in fewer than five minutes before falling short at the goal line.
Big number: 427 — Total yards for the Panthers, whose balanced attack slashed the Packers with runs by tailback Jonathan Stewart (66 yards) or Newton and carved up a secondary that was undermanned and, at times, non-communicative. After allowing 500-plus yards in back-to-back games, the Packers improved only marginally.
What went right: Little or nothing until the final minutes, especially on defense. The glimmers of hope came from the offense, which put together an 11-play, 65-yard drive in the first quarter to take the lead. It was an inventive possession by the Packers, with Jeff Janis, Jared Abbrederis, Aaron Ripkowski and Justin Perillo all taking the field in a substitution-happy march down the field. The drive ended with a 1-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Richard Rodgers. Later, to start the third quarter, Rodgers orchestrated a lightning-quick scoring drive to temporarily bring life back into the game. He found Randall Cobb for a 53-yard touchdown pass along the left sideline, pulling the Packers within 27-14. Two no-huddle drives late in the fourth quarter showed plenty of gusto, but the initial deficit proved a bit too large to overcome. Rodgers finished with 369 yards and four touchdowns.
What went wrong: For the most part, everything went wrong for the Packers on defense. Minus two key contributors in the secondary — cornerbacks Sam Shields (shoulder) and Quinten Rollins (neck) were sidelined — the defense struggled to contain a group of Panthers' receivers that is mediocre at best and unenviable at worst. There was a blown coverage that allowed Jerricho Cotchery to run wide open up the middle for a 59-yard grab. There was another mistake by Demetri Goodson that opened a window for Corey Brown to haul in a 39-yard touchdown. And rookie Devin Funchess beat Damarious Randall for 52 more. By halftime, Newton racked up 209 yards and two touchdowns — and a 20-point lead on the scoreboard that barely held up.